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Poetry

I sometimes think back to my youth
Remembering the heavy sack of sin on my shoulders
And I bent double so it seemed
Across the fields, with scarecrows hung on crosses,
Along straight roads that led to nowhere,
Weighed down in ditches, barns, the hollow trees I slept in;
And how I searched like a pig for acorns
For someone to administer the truth,
To take the sack away;
I tried two men of god:
The first one said tobacco, that’s your man,
It will not rid you of your weight
But it is good for easing pain;
And you should also sing the psalms,
They will distract you from your ruminations;
How can you sing of Zion and think of sin?
The second holy man suggested bloodletting,
It rids the body of its pompous need for god’s salvation.
That’s what I thought about within
The forest of my transformation,
Spiders threading their rigging across wet blades of grass, tobacco;
The wren up-tailed and blown about, psalms;
King-cups and wild garlic by the marshy stream, bloodletting;

And then that queer old morning
There came the stripes of sun through trees,
Illuminating things by chance it seemed at first.
I stared at leaves, tufts of grass now tipped with fire,
And everything appeared to be connected,
The little bits of world ran into one another
And I was part of that confluence
Standing like an angel on a checkerboard of light
And in a trance or slowing down of time
I moved into another world
My heart unclenching, like a fist becoming hand;
It came to me that nothing need be pressed by sin
In the full opening of the heart,
And with that realization
Something like forgiveness poured in, or out,
My shoulders cast their burden off
My back at last began to straighten
And in a state of weightlessness I rose
High above the fields and villages of Leicestershire
High above the curious streets of Lichfield
High above the spires of London
And never really came back.


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